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Being Yourself

What does being yourself really mean? I'm Emma, 19, a Young Ambassador and I ask the question 'What it is that makes us who we are?'

At some point in everyone’s life someone has said to them the words “Be yourself.” Whether it’s a parent, teacher or a friend, those words follow us around but no one really stops to tell you what that means. How can you be yourself when you don’t know who you are? I’ve found it’s less about being yourself and more about finding yourself.

We’ve all seen the problems that come from pretending to be someone we’re not, like Aladdin who wishes to be a Prince to impress Jasmine only for it come crumbling down; but without that experience would he have been able to save the Princess in the end? I’m not saying that you should act like someone you’re not, just there’s a bit of trial and error in finding out what works for you.

Part of the things that make you up are your favourite foods, books, songs and places but you don’t get to know what those are without experiencing a bit of everything. I’m sure a lot of you remember when Twilight was the big thing, how many of you felt pressured into reading it because everyone else was? I did (okay I didn’t finish the third book, but I tried.) I remember feeling a bit left out of a certain group of friends, because I didn’t like it and they did, it was the first time that had really happened to me and I thought about pretending that I liked it, picking Team Edward or Jacob and just getting on with it but I didn’t. I wasn’t a fan of that series and there was nothing to be ashamed of, because that’s part of something that makes me, well me. Just because something is popular doesn’t mean you have to like it or even act like you do, there’s nothing wrong with trying and if it isn’t the right fit for you that’s okay! Go and scream your love of Edward Cullen from the rooftops or maybe you prefer Mr Darcy, it doesn’t matter what others might think, it’s your taste and it’s unique to you, there’s no fun in being like everyone else.

The same goes for ‘guilty pleasures’. Now I have nothing against a sneaky chocolate bar but I don’t get why people say that about songs/books/films. Just as it’s okay not to like something because it’s popular, it’s just as okay to love something mainstream. You might love Punk bands but it doesn’t mean you don’t enjoy dancing to a bit of Taylor Swift, you don’t have to keep it a secret. I am definitely guilty of not wanting to own certain songs because I didn’t want to mess up ‘cool’ music library and as I’ve got older I’ve realised that doesn’t matter. My iPod on shuffle can go from Green Day to One Direction to Dolly Parton and that’s how I like it. It’s really just about finding what you love and the mistakes along the way, you’ll read bad books, hear terrible songs and see boring films but they all become who you are because they teach you important things, like that you love Dylan O’Brian films but Teen Wolf just wasn’t for you.

The truth is we never really stop finding ourselves, it’s about the journey we take along the way. So next time someone says “Be yourself” you have some idea who that might be.

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